“From the moment we wake up until we go to bed, we use plastic in virtually every aspect of our lives. It seems almost impossible to imagine how we ever survived without it. However, this wasn’t always the case, and in fact there are still many people in the world who live plastic-free lives.
There are many ways to give up and reduce our plastic use without needing to make drastic changes to our lives. Here are some simple things I have introduced into my daily habits and life that have cut out a large portion of the plastic I was using.
Out and about
I always carry a spare cloth bag or two with me when I’m out, so I don’t need to use plastic bags. There are so many different sorts of reusable bags these days that fold up really small and are easy to carry around. I always take a stainless-steel water bottle and eco coffee cup with me too, so I don’t need to buy throw away bottles or cups. I also have a small travel cutlery set in case I need to buy food on the go.
Walk into any supermarket these days and it is virtually impossible to find food that is not wrapped in plastic. To avoid fruit and veg in plastic requires a little shopping around sometimes, but I now know the shops that are local to me where I can buy what I need. There are some things I have had to sacrifice, like berries, which I now buy in season at farmers markets and take my own containers… the up-side of this is I appreciate them so much more when I get them.
The hardest thing for me, and one which I have not found a solution to yet, is the plastic tops on bottles and jars. I love to use flavourings when cooking, like soya sauce or teriyaki, and although most products are available to buy in glass containers, they always have plastic lids and plastic wrapping.
My best buy has been to switch from disposable razors to a metal safety razor. There are so many on the market and with a bit of research, you can find one that will work for you. The razor and box of 100 replacement blades only cost me £25, so I have made a massive cost saving in the long run.
I buy face wash, shampoo and conditioner in bars from LUSH, so no more plastic bottles. I buy bamboo toothbrushes which are biodegradable and make my own toothpaste, as I have been unable to find a ready-made toothpaste that doesn’t come in a plastic tube. There are plenty of recipes online – I use a simple one made from coconut oil, baking soda and food grade essential oil.
Toilet paper I buy online from ‘Who Gives a Crap’ which is 100% recycled and comes wrapped in paper instead of plastic. They also give a half their profits towards improving access to hygiene, water and basic sanitation to those in developing countries, so it’s a double win.
The main item I’m still on the hunt for is a deodorant that does not come in plastic packaging, or at least has refillable inserts.
There are more and more shops popping up offering the option to buy items without the need for packaging. It’s possible to buy everything from pasta, pulses and grains, nuts and seeds, and even washing up liquid from these shops. Simply take empty containers or use the paper bags on offer. My 1 litre washing up bottle is on it’s third round already, so it’s possible to reduce the need to buy a new one each time.
It’s important to remember that doing a little is better than doing nothing. Assess your own life and find ways that you can give up plastic. Even if you just start with one thing, it will make a difference. And you may find that it’s easy than you first think – and end up inspiring others to do the same. Good luck!”